Tel: 0121 809 3500

Welding fume question and answer session with the HSE

As part of the record equalling SHIFT forum held in early July 2019, the HSE provided three key people involved in the new work on tackling welding fume to come along and offer delegates an almost unique open question and answer session related directly to the change in classification and what it means for welding in foundries.

Information presented on the day included:

The HSE web pages for the welding section are being removed. Information where possible that could be conflicting has been removed and the revised content is currently being analysed for its technical content, to ensure it is correct, helpful and in clear language that people can understand.

The COSHH Essentials sheets have been reviewed and updated where necessary. These will be published at the same time as the revised content and this is expected to be during the early part of quarter three of 2019.  The revised information will also contain links to the BOHS breather freely tool.  This tool enables people to look at the necessary protections and RPE needed for a variety of work tasks.

Visits to foundries are due to commence towards the start of quarter three of 2019 (October). Ahead of time HSE inspectors are to be trained on what to look for and what to consider as good practice so that both the HSE and industry are working to the same expectations.

If there is currently no LEV being used where assessments identify it is required, planning for the installation and use will be of importance and will be considered by the inspectors when on site. Inspectors are aware that this is a large capital expense and there are many steps including monitoring the air and fumes etc. to understand what needs to be extracted and how large a system is required, potential planning issues for external bag filter systems etc.  Evidence supporting the review of LEV and capital planning / budgeting will go a long way to helping the visit.

If there is no suitable and sufficient risk assessment in place for any activities the HSE will be reviewing when on site at foundries for your company, as identified in the operational plan, then it is imperative that an assessment is performed and actions planned or put into place by the time of any potential visit.  If the use of LEV will not be an option, then there needs to be sufficient detail available as to why RPE will be the only long term option that can be used.

The HSE are building an FAQ system to ensure that the answers to any questions they receive on the topic of welding fume becomes built into the website.


If you are a UK foundry and would like to know more about the welding fume classification change and the impact on foundries, receive a copy of the questions and answers from the session, the occupational plan for 2019/20, or more information about the SHIFT initiative and how to get involved please contact Richard Heath on 0121 809 3500, or visit the website: